Walt Disney "Partners" Statue at Disneyland Resort

MyMagic+ Now Available to Walt Disney World Resort Hotel and Day Guests

posted on April 2nd, 2014 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


When we first shared a glimpse into our plans to take the Disney guest experience to the next level, we had just begun to unveil MyMagic+ at the Walt Disney World Resort. Our goal from the beginning has been to enhance the guest experience and make it even more immersive, seamless and personal than ever before.
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Now, nearly 3.5 million guests have participated in testing, and the vast majority are telling us that MyMagic+ has made their trip even better. This is a big step forward in the evolution of our guest experience, and what we’re seeing in early returns is fantastic.

Guests are telling us that they really like being able to arrange the day the way they want to, with the flexibility to make changes on the go. They also are particularly excited about their experience with the MagicBand. They love the convenience, and we have received a lot of photos from guests showing the fun ways they are wearing them even before they arrive on property or after they return home.
MyMagic+ Takes the Guest Experience to a New Level with MagicBands

This week marks an exciting milestone for us in that we are now providing guests who might only be visiting for the day with the ability to fully engage in MyMagic+ before their visit. Guests can register on My Disney Experience online, reserve access to some of their favorite experiences with FastPass+ and also purchase MagicBands on-site, if they choose.

FastPass+ has been a crucial part of our testing, and we knew it would be popular, which is why from the beginning we more than doubled the experiences people could reserve in advance. We enabled FastPass+ access for a number of attractions and included other guest favorites like fireworks, parades and character meet-and-greets for the first time.
MyMagic+ Takes the Guest Experience to a New Level with MagicBands

As expected, most of our guests think that securing times to ride our attractions is one of the best ways to maximize the fun of a Walt Disney World Resort vacation. We’ve heard from a number of guests that they would like the opportunity to add additional FastPass+ entitlements during their visit, in addition to the three they can plan in advance. So, we’re working on providing them with the ability to add and enjoy additional entitlements on the day of their visit. Once they’ve used the three they’ve booked, we’ll enable them to select another at kiosks in the parks. And once they’ve used the fourth, they can select another, and so on. We also heard that other guests liked the fact that with the FASTPASS service they could use FASTPASS when they park hopped. So we’re working on a service enhancement to add that feature to FastPass+ as well.

One of the best aspects of MyMagic+ has always been that our guests can relax and better enjoy their time with us, all the while knowing that the attraction they want to ride, or the moment they want to experience, will be there, waiting for them.

And isn’t that what a vacation is all about? The more we can have everyone that goes to our parks feel like a VIP, the happier we’ll be with the experience we’re giving them. And that’s exactly what we’re striving for with MyMagic+.

We’ll continue to share more details and updates on as we continue our roll-out, so stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more!

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First Look: AVATAR to Come to Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on October 12th, 2013 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


From the moment AVATAR was released, people were captivated by the mythical world of Pandora. When we announced that we’d be working with James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment to bring this world to life in our parks, we felt certain that this partnership and combination of talent and imagination would produce an experience unlike any other ever created.
Artist Rendering of AVATAR-Themed Land During the Day, Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

Our combined team has taken huge steps forward in “imagineering” Pandora as a real place for our guests to see, hear and touch. At the first-ever D23 Expo in Japan, we shared an early glimpse of the plans for AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and I wanted to share some of these breathtaking images and a short preview of what’s to come with all of you.
Artist Rendering of AVATAR-Themed Land at Night, Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

As these concept renderings show in epic scale, in the world of AVATAR guests will encounter awe-inspiring floating mountains and wander through a nighttime jungle of bioluminescent plants that are alive with light and sound. Guests will also discover what it feels like to soar into the sky riding a Banshee.
Guests Will Discover What it Feels Like to Soar into the Sky Riding a Banshee When AVATAR Comes to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

And the new AVATAR-inspired land won’t be the only change coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Live Performers on Discovery Island Will be Part of New Entertainment Experiences Available to Guests as Part of Expansion at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

As part of the largest expansion in the history of the park, we’ll be adding all-new entertainment experiences, including a new nighttime spectacular where live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery all combine to bring a show to Discovery River that will delight our guests and truly cap off their day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The park will introduce more nighttime entertainment as well, including live performers on Discovery Island (pictured above) and a new nighttime version of the Kilimanjaro Safaris.
James Cameron, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and Imagineer Joe Rohde View a Model of the AVATAR-Themed Land Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

As the world of AVATAR becomes real at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the energy and passion shared by our Imagineers and the Lightstorm team for this monumental task continues to be remarkable. I can’t wait to see the reactions of our guests as they step into a world that until now has only existed on the screen.

We look forward to sharing more details in the future here on the Disney Parks Blog.



See more updates on the AVATAR-themed expansion coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the posts below:

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Marvel’s Iron Man Coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016

posted on October 8th, 2013 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


As I’ve often said, one of the greatest things about Disney is the treasure trove of characters and rich stories we have to draw upon for the immersive experiences we provide our guests around the world. With Marvel joining the Disney family in 2009, our character and story base grew even further, and the anticipation for how Marvel comes to life in our parks and resorts continues to energize our guests and cast.

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That’s why it was so exciting earlier today at Hong Kong Disneyland to announce that the very first Disney attraction based on a Marvel character experience will debut in Hong Kong Disneyland. And I’m excited to be able to share some of the initial details with you today about this Iron Man Experience.

“Marvel's

Audiences around the world have been captivated by the amazing inventions and innovations of Tony Stark and we’re basing this experience within a piece of the Stark Expo. Located in Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland, the Expo will allow guests to see firsthand the progression of Tony’s Iron Man suits and many other Stark innovations.

Upon entering the ride vehicle our guests will be able to take flight with Iron Man on an epic adventure that not surprisingly pits Iron Man, and our guests, against the forces of evil. This adventure will take place in the streets and skies of Hong Kong, which will make an even more unique and special experience for our Hong Kong Disneyland guests. In addition, guests will be able to meet and take photos with Iron Man.

“Marvel's

It’s obviously no secret that Marvel’s Iron Man movies are immensely popular, and we expect this experience will emulate the success of our most recent expansion – Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point – all of which have been huge hits with our guests.

We are extremely confident in and committed to the continued growth and success of Hong Kong Disneyland. I’m excited to see Iron Man become a part of that success when we welcome guests to the attraction in late 2016.


For more Hong Kong Disneyland news, read the posts below:

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Mystic Point to Open at Hong Kong Disneyland on May 17

posted on April 22nd, 2013 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


I was in Hong Kong recently to give members of the media a sneak peek at Mystic Point, the new themed area coming to Hong Kong Disneyland. I’m pleased to say that both the ride and the land itself are fantastic! We revealed some exciting news and details about this project, and I wanted to share those with all of you here on the Disney Parks Blog.
Mystic Point to Open at Hong Kong Disneyland on May 17

Mystic Point will officially welcome its first guests on May 17, a full year ahead of schedule, and I can’t wait for our Hong Kong Disneyland guests to experience this unique new area. Anchored by an all-new E-ticket attraction, Mystic Point will include new dining and merchandise locations that transport visitors to the mysterious world of Lord Henry Mystic, an eccentric adventurer who has traveled the world collecting unusual objects.
Mystic Point to Open at Hong Kong Disneyland on May 17

Mystic Manor is Lord Henry’s stately Victorian mansion and private museum, which is home to his extensive array of fine art and antiquities. Open to the public, guests can tour his home by boarding his latest invention – the “Mystic Magneto-Electric Carriage” – in order to view the more than 7,000 artifacts in his collection. However, when Albert, Lord Henry’s pet monkey, opens a peculiar music box in the museum, all of Mystic Manor’s contents magically come to life.
Mystic Point to Open at Hong Kong Disneyland on May 17

Set to a soundtrack created by legendary composer Danny Elfman, Mystic Manor features a trackless ride system, which is one of the most advanced we’ve ever built. It combines innovative special effects, state-of-the-art technology and legendary Disney storytelling to create an immersive experience that can only be found in Hong Kong.
Mystic Point to Open at Hong Kong Disneyland on May 17

As part of our current expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland, we’ve opened two other themed areas, Toy Story Land and Grizzly Gulch, which have been a huge hit with guests. We’re certain that Mystic Point will live up to their success, providing guests in Hong Kong with even more unique ways to make Disney memories that will last a lifetime.

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Announcing Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 14th, 2013 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


Earlier today, we unveiled plans for Disney Springs, the exciting, multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort, and I’d like to give you all a glimpse into what we’ve got planned.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 12, 2013 – Along with an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands, Disney Springs (as shown in this conceptual rendering) will feature a new gateway with a signature water tower and grand entry.

Walt Disney World Resort guests and local Florida residents have been enjoying Downtown Disney for more than 30 years, but we knew we had an opportunity to reimagine and reinvent this corner of the resort. We’ve spent a good deal of time thinking through just what we want this area to be, and how to bring it to life to make it a place unlike any other. And we have even scrapped a few preliminary plans that we felt didn’t measure up to our aspirations for this place.

Our fundamental goal is to create a welcoming, comfortable space where families can enjoy time together and instantaneously feel right at home. We want to give them opportunities to relax, to be entertained, to wander in and out of unique and distinctive shops or enjoy a world-class dining experience. And because we are Disney, we’ve anchored the entire experience around a story that gives us the ability to deliver on the legendary place-making and creativity for which we are known. The result is Disney Springs, a timeless and vibrant place that celebrates the turn-of-the century lakeside towns that dotted the Florida landscape.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 12, 2013 – Downtown Disney is undergoing a multi-year transformation, representing the largest expansion in its history. The renamed Disney Springs (as shown in this conceptual model) will double the number of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences, and feature an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands.

The story of Disney Springs begins at our new Town Center, which is oriented around a series of bubbling natural springs that first attracted settlers to the area. From there, the town grew to encompass three additional neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace and West Side – each with its own distinct charm and atmosphere. For more about each of these districts, click here.

Once complete, Disney Springs will expand from 75 to more than 150 shopping, dining and entertainment venues, featuring some of the world’s most iconic brands and restaurants. Construction is set to begin next month. The expansion will open in phases and we expect to complete our development in 2016. We look forward to sharing more details in the future here on the Disney Parks Blog.

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Taking the Disney Guest Experience to the Next Level

posted on January 7th, 2013 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we continually push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to deliver the best possible experience for our guests. We’re always looking for ways to take what we do and do it even better. Over the past few years, we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us. I know there’s been significant speculation about these efforts among our fans, so we’re pleased to give you a glimpse into the work we are doing to take the entire Disney guest experience to the next level.

“Haunted

Some of these initiatives are more apparent and can already be seen by our guests – like our interactive queues at Walt Disney World Resort and the Enchanted Art on our cruise ships – while others are more behind-the-scenes and are focused on “how” visitors plan, access and enjoy their experiences with us. Over the next several months, we’ll be rolling out a collection of tools at the Walt Disney World Resort called MyMagic+ that will give guests more opportunities to customize and personalize their entire visit.

Like most people who visit Walt Disney World Resort, my family and I have our “must-do” attractions, and as the father of three boys, those attractions often end with the word “mountain.” Now, rather than dashing as a group, or even splitting up to gather FastPasses, imagine booking guaranteed ride times for your favorite shows and attractions even before setting foot in the park. With MyMagic+, guests will be able to do that and more, enabling them to spend more time together and creating an experience that’s better for everyone.

“Guests

A major component of MyMagic+ is the new My Disney Experience website and mobile app, which gives guests planning their trip the latest information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. We know that some people like to plan every aspect of their Disney vacation in advance while others like to plan very little, letting their day unfold spontaneously. No matter where guests fall in that spectrum, My Disney Experience gives them the flexibility to plan as much or as little as they’d like to create the exact Disney experience they want. They can book dining and other experiences and reserve times for their favorite attractions, shows and more through an enhanced FastPass system, FastPass+. Once they arrive, they can use their smart phones to spontaneously change their plans in the moment, exploring our parks at their own pace and getting the most out of their visit.

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Linking the entire MyMagic+ experience together is an innovative piece of technology we developed called the MagicBand. Worn on the wrist, it will serve as a guest’s room key, theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card and optional payment account all rolled into one. We’ve began testing certain aspects of MyMagic+ in Florida last month and the early reactions we’ve gotten have been fantastic.

This collection of tools is another step forward in the ongoing evolution of our guest experience, giving us even more ways to help friends and family create the unforgettable Disney memories that they want most. We’ll be testing, adjusting and adding features to MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience over time and will continue to make improvements based on our guests’ feedback. We look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead!

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Walt Disney Imagineering’s 60th Anniversary

posted on December 21st, 2012 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative center behind Disney’s theme parks, resorts, cruise ships and our other family entertainment experiences, turned 60 this week. Originally established to conceive, plan and build Disneyland, Walt’s “backyard laboratory” now comprises 1,400 Imagineers who carry on a great legacy and commitment to bringing our iconic stories and characters to life in ways that constantly surprise and delight our guests. It’s incredible to think that what began as a small team in a few buildings in Burbank was the genesis of all of our travel and leisure businesses across the globe.

Whether it is the launch of the Disney Fantasy cruise ship, the unveiling of New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom Park or the reopening of Disney California Adventure park with Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, it is quite clear that the imaginative spirit of Disney Parks is as strong as ever. With new experiences planned at all of our destinations, including Shanghai Disney Resort, our Imagineers continue to be a cornerstone for creativity and innovation across all of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

And 60 years later, we feel like we’re just getting started. Please join all of us at Disney Parks in celebrating 60 incredible years of dreaming and delivering the most magical and memorable experiences in the world.

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New Fantasyland Grand Opening Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 6th, 2012 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


Earlier today, we celebrated a milestone event at the Walt Disney World Resort as we took guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle and officially welcomed them to New Fantasyland. It was a star-studded morning with Ginnifer Goodwin from ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” American Idol’s Jordin Sparks and Mickey Mouse helping us do the honors as we marked the grand opening of the largest expansion project in Magic Kingdom Park history.

Tom Staggs With Ginnifer Goodwin and Mickey Mouse at the New Fantasyland Grand Opening Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort

New Fantasyland gives guests the chance to step into the worlds of some of our most beloved animated films of all time, including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. That’s why it was so exciting to have Disney Animation legends Jodi Benson, Paige O’Hara, Jo Anne Worley, Ron Clements and John Musker on hand for the ceremony, as well.

This expansion represents countless hours of work by thousands of Imagineers and cast members, who together are taking Disney storytelling to a whole new level. The results are spectacular and a true testament to the talent of this extraordinary team.

New Fantasyland Grand Opening Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney once said that Disneyland, and by extension all of our parks, would never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world. That was a promise he made to all of our guests. At the same time, he was charging all of us at Disney Parks to stay true to our legacy of creating experiences that bring our characters and stories to life, helping friends and families make memories that last a lifetime.

I think it’s clear from the stunning work that has gone into every aspect of New Fantasyland that there is still plenty of imagination left in our world.

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New Magic in the Making at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 31st, 2012 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


From flying over Never Land to taking a spin in a tea cup, Fantasyland has been home to some of our guests’ favorite experiences at Walt Disney World Resort since opening day. So when we set out to reinvent the most popular land at our most popular Disney destination, we knew that it had to be something truly spectacular – and I’m proud to say that New Fantasyland is exactly that.

Last Friday, I toured the construction site as we complete the finishing touches for our official opening on December 6, and while the entire expansion is extraordinary, there are a few aspects in particular that I think will be huge hits with our guests.
Enchanted Tales with Belle in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

Part of what makes Disney Parks so special is our ability to connect people with the Disney characters and stories they love. With Enchanted Tales with Belle, we’re doing that in a magical new way. Guests will enter Belle’s cottage, step through an enchanted mirror and be transported to the world of “Beauty and the Beast,” where they’ll help Lumiere, Belle and The Wardrobe recreate “the tale as old as time” by becoming part of the story themselves. Our Imagineers have brought these characters to life in ways that are sure to delight guests both young and old.

One of the hallmarks of a great Disney experience is the meticulous attention to detail that goes into the worlds we create, and the queue for Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid is another fantastic example of “the more you look, the more you see.” Before taking a voyage under the sea with Ariel and her friends, guests can explore the caves and grottos in and around Prince Eric’s castle, interacting playfully with Scuttle and a few of his friends along the way. The rockwork that’s been done is spectacular, and the paintings that adorn the vaults beneath the castle help draw visitors to New Fantasyland even further into the story of the beloved animated film.

One of the most gratifying aspects of this expansion is the way that our new attractions, entertainment, merchandise and food offerings all come together to create a singular experience that is a worthy addition to a park as iconic as Magic Kingdom Park. The result is only possible through the hard work and the collaboration from people across Disney Parks and Resorts, and I am extremely proud of what they have accomplished. We can’t wait to take guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle to discover the new stories, new adventures and new magic that will help them make shared memories that last a lifetime.


Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and follow @WaltDisneyWorld on Twitter for the latest on New Fantasyland. While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #NewFantasyland.

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Grizzly Gulch Opens at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

posted on July 19th, 2012 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


Welcome to the new Grizzly Gulch at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

In a spectacular ceremony last week at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, I was joined by key members of the Hong Kong Government as we unveiled Grizzly Gulch, a thrilling and distinctive new themed area that is the first experience of its kind at any of our parks around the world. Also with me for the opening event were Bill Ernest, President and Managing Director of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Asia, and Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Officer for Walt Disney Imagineering.

The second – and largest – area of our multiyear expansion, Grizzly Gulch transports guests to a Wild West mining town that recalls a golden era of hope, adventure and opportunity.

The miners who founded the town back in 1888 did so unknowingly on land with natural springs, resulting in unpredictable geysers and fountains throughout the town that will surprise and delight our guests.

Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine, the centerpiece of Grizzly Gulch at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

The centerpiece of Grizzly Gulch is our E-ticket attraction, The Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. With an innovative new ride system developed specifically for Hong Kong, Guests will take a thrilling adventure on a runaway train that goes forwards, backwards and crisscrosses in and around the entire area.

Grizzly Gulch joins Toy Story Land, the first of the new themed areas in our current expansion, which opened last November and has been a big hit with guests.

While we were in Hong Kong, Bill, Bruce, and I had a chance to do a walk-through of Mystic Point, the third and final component of the expansion, opening next spring.

With music by Danny Elfman, some of our most innovative storytelling ever, and a rich, beautiful setting, I feel confident that this third piece of our expansion will be an instant classic.

Once these three areas are complete, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will have expanded by roughly 25%, giving guests even more opportunities to create shared memories that will last a lifetime.

Check out these other posts about Hong Kong Disneyland Resort:

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